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News | 19.05.2011

Updated: FAQs on TUPE as a result of the privatisation of Birmingham

Pension presentations and pension information packs have been made available to staff at HMP Birmingham to give them information about pension arrangements ahead of the TUPE transfer.

You may have attended a presentation and raised a question that could not be answered at the time.  These questions were collated and taken away so a response could be sourced.  This communication provides the responses. 

You can find the document here.

Both NOMS and G4S wanted to get this communication out as soon as possible after the presentations and regret the length of time that has elapsed.  It is very important to both organisations that all information published is accurate and some of the questions have required either NOMS and or G4S to do further work to establish the response.

There are a very small number of questions that are not included in this document as they are still being worked on.  However, neither NOMS nor G4S wanted to further delay the publication of this document.

The responses to the remaining outstanding questions will be published in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Susanne Moore
NOMS HR Change Manager



During the past few weeks we, as a Transition Team, have been working to fulfil our commitment to you by providing a speedy response to any questions you may have. Below you will find answers to some of your initial questions.

Questions can still be submitted by contacting the NOMS Transition Team or through the question drop box in the muster corridor

Can staff downgrade to Officer if they wish to do so, which will allow them to apply for Officer vacancies?

All staff are eligible to apply for any advertised post for which they are competent or have achieved the necessary accreditation. All Prison Service operational staff are competent to undertake officer duties and may therefore apply for any advertised officer post. If they are successful they would move on to the officer pay scale without protection.

What happens to staff on detached duty? Will their posts be made available for other to apply for?

Birmingham staff on detached duty are still substantively posted to Birmingham. Their roles cannot be filled substantively unless they found permanent roles elsewhere.

What happens to the visits centre staff and other 3rd party providers?

As outlined in the communications issued at announcement. Non-directly employed staff working at Birmingham should refer to their own employer for more information on how they are affected by G4S winning the bid

Can Principal Officers transfer?

As the PO grade is closed, it is unlikely that any posts at this grade will be advertised within NOMS. Consequently, there will be no opportunity for POs to transfer on level transfer arrangements. They may apply for any advertised post at senior officer level or at manager G and will be given pay protection on transfer under the arrangements for the closure of the PO grade under "What's next for POs?"

Does T.U.P.E mean staff on reserved rights maintain that right to retire at the age of 55 and if redundancies do happen at what age will staff on reserved rights be able to draw our pensions? Will it be 55 or 60?

Staff with 'reserved rights' in PCSPS, who currently have the right in PCSPS to take unreduced benefits from age 55, will also have the right to take their future service benefits in the G4S scheme in full without reduction from age 55 (as long as they retire from the G4S scheme at or after age 55). For past service PCSPS benefits, members have 3 options:

  • Members can choose to preserve their benefits in the PCSPS. In this case, these preserved benefits will only become payable from the PCSPS without reduction from age 60, not age 55.
  • Members can choose to participate in the bulk transfer, and transfer their accrued PCSPS benefits into the G4S scheme. All of these transferred benefits will become payable from the G4S scheme without reduction from age 55, as long as the member retires from the G4S scheme at or after age 55. If the member leaves the G4S scheme before age 55, and preserves their benefits in the G4S scheme, these benefits will only become payable from the G4S scheme without reduction from age 60, not age 55.
  • For members who are already aged over 55 at the point of TUPE transfer to G4S, then they can take payment of their PCSPS retirement benefits on an unreduced basis immediately. In order to do this, such members must claim their retirement benefits from PCSPS before the date of their TUPE transfer to G4S.

Will my current pension be available to me still at 60 and will it be index linked?

Your accrued PCSPS pension will continue to be available from the relevant normal retiring age (age 60 for Classic, Classic Plus and Premium members and age 65 for NUVOS members). Your accrued PCSPS pension will be increased over both the period before and after it starts in accordance with increase orders made under the relevant legislation. The Government has indicated that it intends that future orders will reflect the increase in the Consumer Price Index (rather than the increase in the Retail Price Index). A future Government could change the basis on which future orders are made.

Will the abatement rules apply in the same way when I work for G4S? I draw my pension prior to transfer but carry on working for G4S full time and potentially earning more than I did as an Officer.

In broad terms, if you are eligible to draw your PCSPS pension, then the TUPE transfer to G4S will not prevent you from receiving a PCSPS pension after the TUPE transfer in addition to your earnings from employment with G4S. You will need to make separate enquiries and/or take your own advice about whether to draw your PCSPS benefits before or after the TUPE transfer - for example, if you draw it before the TUPE transfer, you will need to check with NOMS that your employment is still part of the TUPE transfer and that you would not be treated as having left employment with the prison service. In addition, any PCSPS pension drawn before the TUPE transfer will be subject to the abatement rules up to the point of the TUPE transfer. If you draw your PCSPS pension you will not be given the option of transferring it to the G4S scheme.

Where have all the jobs gone that PSBU have been referring to?

Had the public sector bid been successful, the number of prison officers and other staff would have been reduced and as this would then have resulted in surplus staff, action would then have been taken to redeploy them to other prisons within the West Midlands region or elsewhere. In anticipation of this requirement all prison officer vacancies in the West Midlands have been left unfilled. As there is no requirement for us to undertake any redeployment of officers from Birmingham, we have now made arrangements for all officer vacancies in the West Midlands to be advertised in open competition.

At the end of February 2011, there were 71 vacancies for prison officers within the W Midlands region of which 29 were at Birmingham leaving a residue of 42. Taking account of surplus numbers of officers at Foston Hall and a small number of compassionate transfers, 29 vacancies have now been advertised.

Every jail that has been re rolled or closed, staff have been given the opportunity to either take V.E.D.S or transfer to another prison. Why are staff at Birmingham not being treated with the same equality from the same employer?

The situation of a site being re-rolled or closed is different to the situation that exists at HMP Birmingham. The work or role of staff at Birmingham has not gone as is the case with closures / re-rolls, it remains and the contract to continue to deliver services has been won by G4S. NOMS staff that are delivering services at the point of transfer will TUPE transfer to G4S.

We are aware that in other establishments in the Regions staff are acting up & many vacancies are being covered by payment plus. Will other sites be made to declare these vacancies so they can be advertised and staff can then apply for them?

It is for Governors and the relevant Deputy Directors of Custody to determine the resources available and how they are to be used. NTS 39/2010 sets out the arrangements for temporary cover and how it should be deployed.

Will the G4S pension scheme be considered part of the PCSPS 'family'?

The G4S scheme is not a PCSPS 'by-analogy' scheme. It is a private sector scheme which has been certified as providing benefits which are broadly comparable to the PCSPS.

I am pre fresh-start and a member of the classic scheme and have taken formal retirement, but have not dropped 20% of hours to do so. As a result I am unable to draw my pension due to the rules around 'abatement'. Will this continue to be the case when employed by G4S?

The abatement rules for PCSPS apply when working in civil service employment. Employment with G4S is not civil service employment, so earnings from G4S will not be taken into account in determining whether your PCSPS pension is abated.

Will I be able to apply for jobs internally advertised in NOMS once I transfer to G4S?

From the 1st October all transferring staff become G4S employees and as such are no longer eligible to apply for internal NOMS vacancies. You will still be able to apply for roles in NOMS that are advertised externally as anyone can. However, should you do this you would be treated as an external applicant.

If I apply externally for a role in NOMS whilst working for G4S, will I be able to transfer back into NOMS?

No. If you apply for a job in NOMS in response to an external advertisement you will be treated as an external applicant.

What happens if I apply for a job internally within NOMS prior to the transfer but the recruitment is not concluded by 1st October 2011?

You would not be eligible to continue as part of the recruitment process.



For more advice and FAQs, click here.